Well, by now, most astronomy enthusiasts have heard that were on our way to repair the Hubble Space Telescope one more time.
The Czar thinks there is plenty of life left in the old bird, and for what we paid for it, we ought to get as much out of it as possible, especially since the significantly more mind-blowing Webb scope isnt launching for a while yet.
And so the Czars ever roaming but surprisingly solid memory returns to a starry night in 1999, when a special project kept him and a co-worker standing in a god-forsaken prairie until 0300 hours. As we stood there, we talked about the hundreds of thousands of stars plainly visible in the night sky. The two of us were astronomy buffs, but he was deep into it, with thousands of dollars of expensive gear and software at home. The Czar asked when he last had the opportunity to use it.
He smirked, and said he tried about a year ago. There was a block party on his street, and he set up his brobdingnagian scope, motorized Palm pilot-driven devices to isolate specific stars, and let the kids and adults come on up and take a look.
The Czar complimented him on a great idea, and thanked him for getting so many kids interested in astronomy. He replied that they were totally uninterested; Hubble killed astronomy.
He said it was true. He said the kids go out on the web and see images like the Orion nebula like this:
Then, you go to all that trouble to set up your scope, point it at the astounding star factory that is the Orion nebula, and the kids push and shove to look at it and see this:
This is how it actually looks to our eyes through a great scope. Pffft, the kids say, and go back to batting mailboxes down.
That was something the Czar had not considered. But despite that, the Czar wants you to know, good is forthcoming. The new Webb scope will make the Hubble pictures look like the bottom one, comparatively.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.